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TLC’s crazy, sexy, cool chemistry and head-bobbing bops had audiences across the globe. Let's revisit the tragic death of Left Eye.

TLC’s Left Eye: Revisit the tragic accident that took the young singer’s life

It’s been twenty-seven years since “Waterfalls” was playing on every radio station in the country, and TLC was one of the most relevant pop acts in the world. TLC’s crazy, sexy, cool chemistry and head-bobbing bops had audiences across the globe enthralled with the R&B threesome during their heyday in the 1990s, and they weren’t just captivated by the music.

Like so many pop groups before (and after) them, TLC was an amalgamation of different, complementary, equally talented personalities. With this idea, fans could relate to one of the three icons, and everyone had their favorite. To many fans, no member of TLC stood out as much as Left Eye.

Bad girl

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was always known as the bad girl of TLC during their heyday, and continues to have a lasting legacy. If her tattoos, antics in interviews, and edgy outfits like when she famously wore a condom over her left eye weren’t enough, her headlines soon cemented her role as the rock star of the group.

Lest we forget Left Eye’s tumultuous relationship with NFL star Andre Rison, which after much drama ended up with a house engulfed in flames and Left Eye arrested & charged with arson. Of all the members of TLC, Left Eye was the one to watch. That’s why her last headline was the most devastating to TLC fans.


We lost Left Eye in 2002 to an unexpected car accident, news which had fans devastated with the fact she’d been lost in a random tragic event. The news swept through publications across the U.S. and around the globe after that fateful day in 2002.

CNN’s 2002 report of Left Eye’s death describes the car accident as a head-on collision having occurred on a “treacherous two-lane country road” in Honduras, shortly before 6:00 pm outside the town of La Ceiba on the Atlantic Coast. Left Eye was one of eight people in the vehicle, and she was driving the car during the time of the accident.

Lopes died instantly, while at least three of the people in the car were taken to the hospital. Left Eye was driving with Egypt, a new group at the time, and three of the members were sent to Dantoni Hospital in La Ceiba after the time of the car wreck.

Left Eye passed at age thirty, and was just one month away from her thirty-first birthday when the car accident went down in April of 2002. Left Eye was in Honduras on vacation, as she often did during the time leading up to her death. After she passed, musicians across the board paid their respects to the hip-hop icon, but no words were as sought after as those from her group mates in TLC.

L in TLC

Upon hearing the news of her death, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas & Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins were the first to be nagged for interviews by the press to get their reaction to Left Eye’s tragic death. 

Chili is quoted saying, “She was our sister, you know?. . . And no matter what we went through, we’re sisters. You know sisters argue, and they kiss and make up and that’s just how our relationship was…Through us, people will always remember Lisa. We’ll always be a group. It doesn’t stop.” During this interview to CNN, T-Boz made a point to add  “she’ll never be replaced”.

Furthermore, Left Eye never was replaced; TLC continued after Left Eye’s death, as Chili & T-Boz performed a comeback tour and worked on various projects together, but the “L” in TLC was never taken by a new member to join the group. 

TLC respects the legacy of Left Eye, along with TLC fans everywhere; Lopes is twenty-seven years gone, and twenty-seven years missed.

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